If your periods are so heavy that they limit your lifestyle, make an appointment with your doctor or other health care provider.
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment and know what to expect from your provider.
What you can do
To prepare for your appointment:
- Ask if there are any pre-appointment instructions. Your doctor may ask you to track your menstrual cycles on a calendar, noting how long they last and how heavy the bleeding is.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, and for how long. In addition to the frequency and volume of your periods, tell your doctor about other symptoms that typically occur around the time of your period, such as breast tenderness, menstrual cramps or pelvic pain.
- Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your life. These factors can affect your menstrual cycle.
- Make a list of your key medical information, including other conditions for which you're being treated and the names of medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor, to help make the most of your time together.
For menorrhagia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Are my periods abnormally heavy?
- Do I need any tests?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- Are there any side effects associated with these treatments?
- Will any of these treatments affect my ability to become pregnant?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to help manage my symptoms?
- Could my symptoms change over time?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions that occur to you during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- When did your last period start?
- At what age did you begin menstruating?
- How have your periods changed over time?
- Do you experience breast tenderness or pelvic pain during your menstrual cycle?
- How long do your periods last?
- How frequently do you need to change your tampon or pad when you're menstruating?
- Do you experience severe cramping during your period?
- Do you experience fatigue during your period?
- How much do you exercise?
- Has your body weight recently changed?
- Have you recently experienced significant stress or emotional difficulty?
- Are you sexually active?
- Are you using any type of birth control?
- Do you have a family history of bleeding disorders?
- Do your symptoms limit your ability to function? For example, have you ever had to miss school or work because of your period?
- Are you currently being treated or have you recently been treated for any other medical conditions?
What you can do in the meantime
While you wait for your appointment, check with your family members to find out if any relatives have been diagnosed with bleeding disorders. In addition, start jotting down notes about how often and how much you bleed over the course of each month. To track the volume of bleeding, count how many tampons or pads you saturate during an average menstrual period.
July 02, 2014
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- Zacur HA. Chronic menorrhagia or anovulatory uterine bleeding. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 6, 2014.
- Laughlin-Tommaso SK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 15, 2014.
- Hesley GK, et al. MR-Guided focused ultrasound for the treatment of uterine fibroids. CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology. 2013;36:5.
- De Silva NK. Abnormal uterine bleeding in adolescents: Definition and evaluation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 13, 2014.
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